Introduction to Playlists

In this topic you will learn about some of the best ways to use playlists to organize related videos in your Video Cloud media library.

What is a playlist?

A playlist is a collection of videos that are grouped together for playback in a Video Cloud player. There are two types of playlists available:

  • Manual playlists - To create a manual playlist, you manually select a group of videos to be played and arrange them in the desired order. The order in which videos are played can be changed in manual playlists at any time by dragging and dropping the videos into the correct order.
  • Smart playlists - To create a smart playlist, you create a rule based upon parameters to define which videos appear in the playlist. You can also order the videos and set the maximum number of videos to include. As videos are uploaded, if they match the rule, they are automatically added to the playlist.

For detailed information about creating playlists in the Media module, see Creating and Managing Playlists.

Smart playlists and manual playlists

What should you consider when choosing whether to use a smart playlist or a manual playlist?

Using manual playlists

Manual playlists can be used to present unrelated videos in a very specific order. For example, you may want to have a set of videos on your company website that give a lot of information about your company, its culture, corporate goals, people, career opportunities, revenue, etc. In this case, a manual playlist containing these videos in the desired order could be used. If the focus of the company at present is on the company's revenue, you could put the revenue video first in the playlist. Later, when the company focus shifts, the order of videos can be changed to place another video first in the playlist.

Using smart playlists

Smart playlists are an excellent way of presenting related videos. Consider a case where you have a collection of videos about wildlife that you want to group together. Smart playlists are best suited for this since all you need to do is assign a common tag (for example, 'wildlife') to all the wildlife related videos. Next, create a smart playlist based on the tag 'wildlife'. All your wildlife videos will be nicely presented in a single playlist this way. An added advantage of using smart playlists is that as videos are added your account, you only need to add the tag 'wildlife' to the new videos and they will automatically be added to your playlist. To remove a video from the 'wildlife' playlist, just remove the 'wildlife' tag assigned to the video and it will no longer appear in the playlist. Smart playlists can also be created based upon other parameters such as custom fields, description and dates.

Which type of playlist should I use: manual or smart?

Whether you use manual or smart playlists can be personal preference and it can also be a function of the number of videos you upload on a given day. For example, consider an example of a small town newspaper and a large regional newspaper. The small town paper may produce one video every week to post on its website. In this case, using manual playlists to organize and publish the content may be a good thing. The volume of new (and total) videos in the account is fairly low and one video editor is probably responsible for overseeing the publication of videos from Video Cloud to the website. They may have the time to carefully organize and review their content and therefore use a manual playlist to order videos carefully. In contrast, consider the case of a large regional newspaper who may be producing 10 videos a day with multiple producers using Video Cloud to publish. This newspaper can establish a taxonomy for their video tags to ensure consistent categorization across video producers. They can then streamline the publishing workflow for their content by using smart playlists based on tags, ordered by newest for the home page and by most popular for their archived news page.

Why do you need playlists?

Playlists are a flexible tool with multiple possible uses.

Presenting related content

Playlists are a good way to group content so that viewers can find related videos quickly and easily without having to search for the individual items themselves.

Presenting newest or most popular content

You might want a player that always presents your newest videos. To do this, you can create a smart playlist with no parameters, but with the order Activated Date (Newest First) or Start Date (Newest First). You could also publish a player that always presents your most popular videos. To do this, you can create a smart playlist with no parameters and set the play order to Total Plays or Trailing Week Plays. In both of these cases, it's a good idea to limit the size of the playlist to a reasonable number, maybe 10 videos.

Presenting multi-part videos

If you have videos that are a part of a series, like episodes in a series or modules in an online training course, putting them all within a single playlist to play sequentially makes a lot of sense so that your viewers do not have to go hunting for parts or accidentally miss some parts in between. Also, if you have a particularly long video focusing on a wide variety of aspects (for example, a video showcasing various tourist destinations around the world), breaking it up into sub-parts per continent, giving each clear titles, and putting it into a playlist would be a good thing to do. If done this way, your viewers can pick and choose to view only the videos that interest them and opt to skip over the parts of the video that they are not particularly interested in.

Updating content with playlists

You can use playlists to make it easier to update the video content on your web site. Suppose you have a player on your home page and you want to replace its content with new videos. Instead of editing the home page and modifying the player publishing code to point to different content, you can just edit the playlist used by the player. Using the Media module, you can add, delete, or re-arrange videos in the playlist. The rest is taken care of automatically and the desired changes will be reflected in the embedded player immediately when you save the changes to the playlist.

Using playlists to group related videos

Your use of playlists doesn't need to involve playback at all. You can use playlists for internal organization of videos. You can do this by creating smart playlists that group videos based on tags. These playlists can be used as a way to group videos for editing metadata, adding cue points, or other administrative tasks. Note that the largest number of videos that can be added to a playlist is 100.

Folders can also be used to organize videos. There is no limit to the number of videos that can be placed in a folder. For more information, see Organizing Videos Using Folders.

Getting easy access to your playlists

If you have a large number of playlists in your account, it can be hard to quickly find the ones you want to work with. By choosing to Show Playlist in Sidebar as part of the playlist settings, the playlist will be displayed in the side navigation bar for easy access.

How do you publish playlists?

The process to publish playlists is the same as it is when publishing a single video. There are some player settings that control the look and behavior of the player when publishing a playlist. For more information see Publishing Videos and Playlists with the Media Module.